Mutant p53 drives invasion in breast tumors through up-regulation of miR-155

P. M. Neilsen, J. E. Noll, S. Mattiske, C. P. Bracken, P. A. Gregory, R. B. Schulz, S. P. Lim, R. Kumar, R. J. Suetani, G. J. Goodall, D. F. Callen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Citations (Scopus)


Loss of p53 function is a critical event during tumorigenesis, with half of all cancers harboring mutations within the TP53 gene. Such events frequently result in the expression of a mutated p53 protein with gain-of-function properties that drive invasion and metastasis. Here, we show that the expression of miR-155 was up-regulated by mutant p53 to drive invasion. The miR-155 host gene was directly repressed by p63, providing the molecular basis for mutant p53 to drive miR-155 expression. Significant overlap was observed between miR-155 targets and the molecular profile of mutant p53-expressing breast tumors in vivo. A search for cancer-related target genes of miR-155 revealed ZNF652, a novel zinc-finger transcriptional repressor. ZNF652 directly repressed key drivers of invasion and metastasis, such as TGFB1, TGFB2, TGFBR2, EGFR, SMAD2 and VIM. Furthermore, silencing of ZNF652 in epithelial cancer cell lines promoted invasion into matrigel. Importantly, loss of ZNF652 expression in primary breast tumors was significantly correlated with increased local invasion and defined a population of breast cancer patients with metastatic tumors. Collectively, these findings suggest that miR-155 targeted therapies may provide an attractive approach to treat mutant p53-expressing tumors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2992-3000
Number of pages9
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 13 Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • ZNF652
  • breast cancer
  • invasion
  • miR-155
  • mutant p53

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research

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